Monday, December 12, 2011

The Undomestic Goddess

This weekend was my mother's annual holiday cookie swap party. If you're unfamiliar with a cookie swap, here's how it goes: each guest brings two dozen of two different kinds of cookies. Then trays are passed around and around until everyone goes home with a giant tray (and I do mean giant) of a wide variety of holiday treats.

This is just a sampling of what I brought home. I have two more trays just like it.

And every year when the cookie party invites come out, I am filled with a sense of dread because I. Do. Not. Bake. I mean, not even a little. I'm pretty sure I failed my seventh grade Home Ec class. If I didn't fail it, I came damn close. I do, however, specifically remember failing the egg unit. Turns out that was a prime example of foreshadowing because I now have an irrational— yet entirely valid— fear of eggs.

Yes, that's right. Eggs.

I won't eat them. I won't bake with them. I won't buy them. I don't like them in the house. I can sit at the same table as someone eating them but if the eggs are over easy, I spend a lot of time not looking at the person with whom I'm eating breakfast.

So, as you can imagine, this makes baking difficult.

But the cookie party kind of necessitates it. I brought store bought cookies once and received a massive teasing so the last few years, I recruited a designated baker with whom I later shared the bounty (she was invited to attend, just never could). Unfortunately, this year, my designated baker has moved on which left me on my own.

I paged through my cookie recipe book (people used to buy me cookbooks. They thought maybe my whole lack of cooking was due to a lack of recipes. It's not.) looking for recipes that did not involve eggs. And there were some. But then those recipes involved other things like roughly chopped culinary lavender and the creaming together of butter and sugar so eventually I put the book away and headed to the store for some lovely break and bake cookies.

Break and bake cookies. The cookies of champions. And people with an irrational— yet entirely valid— fear of eggs.

I bought break and bake sugar cookies. I also bought some delightful red and green sugar crystals because I thought if I sprinkled the cookies with the delightful red and green sugar crystals, it would help sell the Christmas cookie angle. That decision led to the following conversation between me and The Man:

Me: When do I put the sprinkles on? Before or after I bake them?
The Man: How the hell should I know?
Me: I guess I'll just experiment.
The Man: Why don't you Google it?
Me: You want me to Google 'when do I put sprinkles on sugar cookies?'
The Man: Sure. Why not?
Me: Well, it's kind of pathetic.
The Man: Because this conversation isn't?

The Man may have had a point but I still didn't Google it (but if you do, the first few results say 'after'). I just decided to sprinkle them beforehand and see what happened. And they turned out just fine. Well, they would have if I hadn't burnt them to a crisp.

Apparently, oven timers do not set themselves. Just a little tip from me to you.

The second batch turned out better. It would've been hard not to turn out better. And the third batch was just fine. Until I dropped them on the floor.

Here's another little tip from me to you: baking sheets are often times really frakking hot when first removed from the oven. The use of some kind of mitt (and not one's bare hand) is advisable.

Really I'm smart in other ways.

Eventually I did end up with twenty four festively sprinkled sugar cookies. But that only gave me one kind of cookie. And I needed two. So this was me at 9pm on Saturday night:

Me: I have peppermint patties in the cupboard. Do you think I could just unwrap twenty four of those and pass those off as cookies?
The Man: You betcha.

I ended up making soft ginger cookies. From a mix. It only requires the mix, two tablespoons of butter and a little hot water. Oh, and some sugar in which to roll the little balls of dough. That led to this conversation:

Me: Does sugar go bad?
The Man: How the hell should I know?

For the record, Google tells us that sugar does not expire, not like how other foods do (see, kids? This blog is educational!). However,
if kept too long or in a non-airtight container where humidity can get in, it WILL become a solid, unreasonable block (courtesy of

Fortunately, unreasonable blocks fit right in here.

That does it for me today... be sure to tune in next time (tomorrow, if I'm really on top of things...which means probably more like Wednesday) when I tell you the tale of my trip to the craft store.



  1. What a great post! You had me smiling and smiling! And shaking my head...please, you did use mittens to get those cookies out, right? About eggs - when a friend of mine was pregnant she craved hard boiled eggs. But the peeled egg couldn't have any nips or cracks. If it did, she'd throw up!

  2. Thanks for a great laugh this morning! Several, actually. Maybe you should try fudge next year? I don't think there are eggs in fudge.

  3. Ha! That's hilarious. I like Alex's suggestion to fudge it next time. :)

  4. The incredible edible egg! Now when I hear that commercial I am going to think of you =P


  5. Just like you, I also do not bake. Or cook really either. When I need to eat I will move things from the freezer to the oven, but that's about it. Fortunately, I'm married to a chef.

  6. Wow.
    That's awesome.
    You'd really hate the eggs at my house, because we very often draw faces on them, give them names, and destroy them in the name of good food :D

  7. @ Kittie- Thanks. And yes, I did (eventually) use mitts to get the cookies out. Once burned, twice shy.

    @Alex- I have attempted fudge in the past. Please note the key words in that sentence 'attempted' and 'past.

    @L.G.- I fudge most things in my life so this shouldn't be a problem...

    @Bonnie- Thanks. =)

    @Angeline- Unfortunately for both The Man and I, neither of us cook. Our most used cookbook is our collection of local take out menus.

    @Jolene- Yes. I probably would hate that quite a lot.

  8. creaming butter and sugar together is not as difficult as it sounds. As long as you let the butter get soft first.

    Can you use eggbeater's substitute as opposed to actual eggs?

    Or check vegan baking cookbooks. No eggs in vegan recipes.

  9. You are too funny. I only bake a few cookies at Christmas time. My lovely daughter-in-law always makes a terrific selection her contribution to our family get together.
    My darling husband would be as helpful as yours.

  10. I have two cookie recipes that are incredibly wasy and do not require eggs. One is just peanut butter and powdered sugar. I loved those when I was a kid!
    The requires cocoa, butter and oatmeal. I -think- that's all. I'll have to look.

    Speaking of eggs, there's a line in my book, "Oh. My. Gosh. Eggs!" (or something like that (I'm not actually looking at it, at the moment)) that my kids repeat all the time. And I mean all the time. Even some of the kids at their school say it.

  11. This made me giggle. And made me feel so much better about my culinary skills. :-)